Dear Visitor,

Our system has found that you are using an ad-blocking browser add-on.

We just wanted to let you know that our site content is, of course, available to you absolutely free of charge.

Our ads are the only way we have to be able to bring you the latest high-quality content, which is written by professional journalists, with the help of editors, graphic designers, and our site production and I.T. staff, as well as many other talented people who work around the clock for this site.

So, we ask you to add this site to your Ad Blocker’s "white list" or to simply disable your Ad Blocker while visiting this site.

Continue on this site freely
  HOME     MENU     SEARCH     NEWSLETTER    
TECHNOLOGY, DISCOVERY & INNOVATION. UPDATED 3 MINUTES AGO.
You are here: Home / Digital Life / Will Google Appoint an Ombudsman?
Privacy Expert Proposes Google Ombudsman
Privacy Expert Proposes Google Ombudsman
By Frederick Lane / Sci-Tech Today Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
JUNE
12
2007
In the wake of the myriad privacy issues swirling around search engine giant Google, a noted privacy advocate is calling for the company to appoint an ombudsman to help the company respond to privacy questions. The suggestion was made on the personal blog of Lauren Weinstein, a cofounder of People For Internet Responsibility and founder of the Privacy Forum, which he created in 1992.

"A dedicated, at-large, public ombudsman to deal with these issues is urgently needed at Google," Weinstein argued, "to interact directly and routinely with the public regarding Google, YouTube, and other affiliated operations."

Impenetrable Organization

He suggested that for many people -- including organizations such as Privacy International -- it can be difficult to get answers from Google on privacy-related issues.

"The privacy, content-related, and many other concerns of ordinary users and organizations expressed to Google through currently available feedback channels," Weinstein wrote, "appear to routinely vanish into what is effectively a 'black hole' -- with a lack of substantive responses in most cases. If you don't have a court order or a DMCA 'take down' notice, Google can appear impenetrable to expressed concerns."

In a phone interview, Weinstein said that having the ability to contact an actual human being would make a big difference to people concerned about Google's activities. "If people felt that there was a clear path to meaningful communication," he argued, "if there was a real human being tasked with dealing with these types of issues, that would go a long way towards solving some of Google's problems."

Avoiding Backlash

In his blog post, Weinstein recommended the appointment of a nonlawyer, someone well-respected and well-versed in Internet issues, who could interact with the public but still push relevant issues "up the chain of command inside Google for action as appropriate."

Weinstein said that his suggestion was motivated not only out of concern for individual privacy, but also out of fear for potential political and legal backlash toward Google. "Communication is incredibly important in this sphere," he wrote. "The current situation is seriously and increasingly dangerous to Google. Backlash and reactive, knee-jerk legislation by ambitious politicians could easily, unreasonably constrain and seriously damage Google, the broader Internet, and Net users around the world."

"When issues involve Google," Weinstein said later by phone, "concerns are heightened due to the company's market share. The problems seem much more significant, which means that it is even more important for people to have a way to communicate their concerns. Google has reached a level of maturity where this is something they should consider. Transparency is needed, and it is at least as much about perception as it is about reality."

So far, Google has not responded to Weinstein's suggestion.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Lesley Anne Rubenstein, L:
Posted: 2011-04-11 @ 3:41am PT
Google appears to be in an ivory tower, their business ethics are shocking (I've been at the receiving end) and there is no one to talk to. They are arrongant and bullish. They do not behave as one might expect. Happy to provide detail - I wish there was an ombudsman I could write to but s/he would be so inundated as I'm sure I'm not the only one to have been at their less publicized receiving end.

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
MORE IN DIGITAL LIFE

SCI-TECH TODAY
NEWSFACTOR NETWORK SITES
NEWSFACTOR SERVICES
© Copyright 2017 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.